A vegan recipe for okra and chickpea curry in a fresh tomato sauce, made in 30 minutes. Add gnocchi or sweet potato to make it more filling.
If an Indian chickpea curry married a Mediterranean okra stew in fresh tomato sauce, then this chickpea and okra stew (or curry) would be their child.
This may seem like a strange combination, but it works. Also, adding chickpeas to an okra stew is a great way to add some protein to a vegan dish .
If you want to make this recipe gluten-free, you can use gluten-free gnocchi or just substitute with sweet potatoes.
The only difference is that the gnocchi are added at the end, whereas, you should cook the sweet potatoes from the start, along with the okra.
How to make okra less slimy
One of my most favorite recipes is this Greek chicken stew with okra and potatoes in tomato sauce which my mom calls “chicken with okra”. The cooking method is similar to this whole chicken cacciatore stew with bucatini pasta but without the pasta and with different spices.
When okra is cooked with tomato juice or pureed tomatoes, the acidity of the tomatoes doesn’t let it get “slimy” (fact verified by Southern Livings' okra tomato recipe and many more, my grandma included!).
Probably that’s the reason why freshly squeezed lemon juice is also used in most Greek recipes. And I have to say that the tanginess of the lemon brings out the fresh and summery character of the okra!
- How much lemon juice to use? The Mediterranean spirit demands that okra should be tangy. If you’re not sure how you like it, start with less lemon juice and adjust by taste.
- If you can’t find gluten-free gnocchi, use an equal amount of potatoes, peeled and diced.
- Frozen okra is a great option for this recipe. Use baby okra if possible.
- If you’re not used to eating legumes and okra often, then expect some bloating and gas.
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Okra and chickpea curry in fresh tomato sauce
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion (finely chopped)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon paprika (smoked paprika also pairs well)
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- 1 garlic clove (minced)
- 1 pound (450 g) baby okra (fresh or frozen (for larger okra, cut it in half))
- 1 cup (240 ml) dry white wine (or vegetable stock)
- 2 cups (480 g) pureed tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon sumac ((or lemon zest))
- 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (start with 4 and adjust according to taste)
- ½ bunch fresh parsley (chopped)
- 1 can chickpeas (rinsed and drained)
- 1 pound (450 g) gnocchi (or sweet potatoes, cubed)
- Transfer the olive oil, the onion, the salt, the paprika, the black pepper and the turmeric to a large pot and sauté, stirring often, over medium/high heat until the onion is translucent (about 3-4 minutes).
- Add the garlic and the okra and cook, stirring often, for 2-3 more minutes.If you use sweet potatoes instead of gnocchi, add them now.
- Add the wine (or vegetable stock), the pureed tomatoes, the sumac (or lemon zest) and the lemon juice and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, cover the pot with a lid and cook for 15-18 minutes, depending on how soft you prefer the okra.
- Add the parsley, the chickpeas and the gnocchi. Taste and if needed, add more salt or a bit of sugar to balance the acidity.If the sauce is too thick you may have to add a splash of water. Cover the pot and cook for 5 more minutes.Serve.
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